Newcastle City Council has unveiled plans to revamp two of the busiest roundabouts in the city. Blue House roundabout on the Great North Road, the junctions off Jesmond Dene Road with Osborne Road, and Ilford Road, and the Haddricks Mill double roundabout in South Gosforth will both be upgraded to improve safety, smooth traffic flow and reduce congestion.
Here is all you need to know about the plans:
- What is happening and why?
Newcastle City Council says the the junctions form part of a key corridor that runs across the city from Cowgate to the north of the city in Gosforth.
Both junctions suffer from high levels of congestion and delays and are well-known collision hotspots. Between 2010 to 2016 there have been 371 serious or slight collisions at junctions along the corridor.
With works now complete at Cowgate, the council plans to connect the junctions at Blue House and Haddricks Mill to improve efficiency and safety along the route. The council says improvements will mean road-users benefit from improved journey times, safer junctions and reduced congestion.
- What are the plans for Blue House roundabout?
A new signalised junction will be built 50m north of the current roundabout, with more lanes and intelligent traffic signals to smooth traffic flow. The council says that, by building a new junction on Town Moor land, it means they can increase capacity on the roundabout and include separate cycle lanes, bus lanes and improved pedestrian crossings in the new design.
The new proposals mean that some trees will be affected and will need to be removed, although the council said it plans to keep the existing tree-lined arrangement for future generations by doubling the number of trees around the junction.
On Jesmond Dene Road, the city’s oldest sets of traffic lights at the junctions with Osborne Road and Moorfield will be replaced and upgraded to modern, intelligent traffic signals. A new pedestrian crossing will be put in place across Osborne Road at the junction. To improve traffic flow , right turns into Osborne Road from Blue House and Ilford Road from Haddricks Mill will be banned with alternative routes signposted.
- What are the plans for Haddricks Mill?
The proposals are to increase the capacity of the junction by removing the double roundabout and building a larger priority roundabout.
The proposed design includes part-time signals to help the junction cope with high levels of demand from nearby employment sites at peak times. Cycling facilities and pedestrian improvements will also be installed ensuring that people on foot and bikes have safe access across and around the junction.
The new junction will also change how motorists access Hunters Road, with a no-right turn into Hunters Road from the direction of Freeman Road, Killingworth Road and Benton Road. Hunters Road will be accessed from this direction by a new road running behind Station Road,which will include parking for residents and for shops on Station Road.
The council proposes to make major changes to Killingworth Road by widening the road so it can accommodate better pedestrian pathways, cycle lanes, a bus lane and off-street parking for residents. At the same time, working in partnership with Nexus, the Metro bridge will be replaced. This will be done at the same time as Metro replace the tracks next summer.
- How much will this cost?
The roundabout upgrade will cost the council £20m. The proposals are part of its £60m 'Re-newcastle' programme of investment in the city's roads and highways infrastructure.
- Can I have my say?
The public and businesses are invited to have their say on the details of the proposals by visiting www.newcastle.gov.uk/roads from Monday 25 July for full details. A number of public events are also planned. The deadline for comments is August 21 in this first stage of consultation.
Once the first stage of consultation is completed in mid-August, the council will review the comments received and provide feedback on any changes to the designs.
The council will also provide details on the next stages of formal consultation before a final decision is taken.
- What have people said?
Andrew Hodgson, chairman of the North East LEP, said the plans are 'much needed' adding that: "Good infrastructure underpins every successful region."
Councillor Ged Bell who is in charge of investment and development, said the plan was to make the junctions safer and reduce congestion, which will also 'enable economic growth in the city.'